The Truth Behind Blogging and Affiliate Marketing

Woman Working on Laptop in CafeFor years, people have searched for ways they can make money from home. Unfortunately, there are a lot of scams out there, targeting people who don’t want to work hard or spend much money to start a home based business.

Then Came the Internet.

With the internet came affiliate marketing and then blogging. These are great business models for entrepreneurs who want to work from home and don’t have a lot of money to spend to get started. However, they do require work and long hours, especially at the very beginning.

Long Story Short…

If you are unfamiliar with these business models, they are essentially the “marketing arm” of many industries. Affiliates and bloggers don’t have to develop any products, open a store, hire staff or provide a physical service. What they do need to do, however, is sell the products and services that other people develop.

What Actually Ended up Happening…

Many people jumped into these businesses thinking that it would be free and easy money. In actuality, for some entrepreneurs  the selling aspect can be more difficult than product development would be. For many, the money did not come, leaving thousands of unsuccessful affiliate marketers and bloggers talking about how these businesses don’t work.

Man Blogging on Laptop at HomeThere are so many internet business ideas to try, people often go from one idea to the next without giving a single strategy enough time to prove that it works. According to Professional Blogger John Chow, it’s easier to find an idea that works and simply rinse and repeat – do it over and over again, rather than wasting time learning a bunch of new processes.

Does Anyone Make Money?

But what about the people that did succeed? Are there any? What did they do that is different, and is it actually possible to make money online from home as an affiliate or blogger?

Of course there are successful affiliates and bloggers. They are the salespeople. They are not the typical door-to-door  salesmen or the annoying telemarketers, but rather people who can master the art of copywriting, get attention through social media, build relationships via email or figure out where to place ads online.

No, you don’t need to get in front of people and sell face-to-face to make money as an affiliate or blogger. However, you do need to master at least one of the skills mentioned above. This takes time, work and sometimes money. In short, the people who succeed are the ones willing to make the effort. There is no magic button.

Well, OK, maybe there is a shortcut.

Like most things, if you want to find out how to do something, learn from someone who has already done it. They can help you avoid mistakes and reach your goals faster using the tricks that they have learned.

The Trade Off:

The trade off is that this knowledge is usually not free. In any situation, you need to weigh the cost to the benefits to figure out which option is best for you. In business decisions, many people make a decision based on the time they think it would take for them to learn the information on their own and multiply that by the dollar amount they are worth per hour.

If it is more than the cost to learn from a pro, they opt to learn from the pro, since it is cheaper. Here’s my very scientific calculation formula for figuring out what to do:

___ Hours Learning  X  Your Hourly Worth  VS  Cost of a Pro

No matter which route you choose, I have a few pieces of advice from personal experience in the field. These will help you in either case.

1. First of all, there is lots of competition. Not only are do you have individual home-based entrepreneurs in the industry, there are large corporations that are competing for advertising dollars in the affiliate and blogging world.

Therefore, you want to narrow down your niche to one that has less competition. This greatly increases you chance of success while simultaneously decreasing your work load to achieve it. For example, instead of choosing the “weight loss” niche, go for something like “meal plans for kids with wheat allergies”.

2. Second, choose to work with advertisers that are well known or have a track record for being reliable. A commission means nothing if the vendor all of the sudden goes out of business and disappears – along with your paycheck. Using third party affiliate networks  Like Commission Junction or Linkshare can easily resolve this problem.

Copywriting Book3. Third, take a lesson (or 10) in copywriting. This skill can help you in any field you are in with virtually any work you do. Being able to effectively communicate with others is the first step to persuading them to buy from you.

Plus, if you become a skilled copywriter, you can hire yourself out (like Ryan Healy) to other businesses using resources like eLance and create another stream of income for yourself.